Is this modern day colonialism? From the Financial Times–
Daewoo Logistics of South Korea has secured farmland in Madagascar to grow food crops for Seoul, in a deal that diplomats and consultants said was the largest of its kind.
The company said it had leased 1.3m hectares of farmland – about half the size of Belgium – from Madagascar’s government for 99 years. It plans to ship the maize and palm oil harvests back to South Korea. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The pursuit of foreign farm investments is a clear sign of how countries are seeking food security following this year’s crisis – which saw record prices for commodities such as wheat and rice and food riots in countries from Egypt to Haiti.
Prices for agricultural commodities have tumbled by about half from such levels but countries remain concerned about long-term supplies.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation warned this year that the race by some countries to secure farmland overseas risked creating a “neo-colonial” system. Those fears could be increased by the fact that Daewoo’s farm in Madagascar represents about half the African country’s arable land, according to estimates by the US government.
Shin Dong-hyun, a senior manager at Daewoo Logistics in Seoul, said the company would develop the arable land for farming over the next 15 years, using labour from South Africa, and intended to replace about half South Korea’s maize imports.
South Korea, a heavily populated but resource-poor nation, is the fourth-largest importer of maize and among the 10 largest buyers of soyabeans.
This deal with leave Daewoo farming almost half of Madagascar’s arable. land.(I read that in another article that I’ve lost the link to. Half the area of Belgium is pretty sizable) Foreign corporations have entered into agreements with countries where they mine natural resources. Is food any different than gold, silver, platinum? Of course it is, because you don’t eat those minerals. The deals though seem similar to me.
Update- I forgot to hat tip Robert Koehler at Marmot’s Hole